Content and language integrated learning

Authored by: Tom Morton

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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This chapter provides an overview of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) which aims to enable readers to assess for themselves its relevance to the field of ELT. The chapter is organised into four main sections, focusing respectively on the ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘who’ and ‘how’ of this approach to language education. The ‘what’ of CLIL takes in its origins and history and defines its key characteristics in relation to similar approaches, such as immersion, content-based instruction (CBI) and English-medium instruction (EMI); CLIL is used as an umbrella term to identify a variety of pedagogical approaches to integrating content and language rather than a label for identifying particular programmes or a single approach. The ‘why’ of CLIL covers a range of current theoretical issues and debates: the focus on ‘pluriliteracies’; arguments for CLIL based on second language acquisition (SLA) research and communicative language teaching (CLT); the balance between language and content outcomes in CLIL research; methodological issues in CLIL research and the dangers of elitism; and multilingual approaches to CLIL. The ‘who’ focuses on CLIL teachers. Then, moving on to the ‘how’ of CLIL, practical issues of classroom teaching, assessment, resources and materials are addressed. The chapter concludes with implications and challenges for ELT raised by the issues and debates surrounding CLIL.

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